Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19
Stocks Market Investors Worried About the Fed? Don't Be -- Here's Why - 13th July 19
Could Gold Launch Into A Parabolic Upside Rally? - 13th July 19
Stock Market SPX and Dow in BREAKOUT but this is the worrying part - 13th July 19
Key Stage 2 SATS Tests Results Grades and Scores GDS, EXS, WTS Explained - 13th July 19
INTEL Stock Investing in Qubits and AI Neural Network Processors - Video - 12th July 19
Gold Price Selloff Risk High - 12th July 19
State of the US Economy as Laffer Gets Laughable - 12th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State - 12th July 19
Stock Market Major Index Top In 3 to 5 Weeks? - 11th July 19
Platinum Price vs Gold Price - 11th July 19
What This Centi-Billionaire Fashion Magnate Can Teach You About Investing - 11th July 19
Stock Market Fundamentals are Weakening: 3000 on SPX Means Nothing - 11th July 19
This Tobacco Stock Is a Big Winner from E-Cigarette Bans - 11th July 19
Investing in Life Extending Pharma Stocks - 11th July 19
How to Pay for It All: An Option the Presidential Candidates Missed - 11th July 19
Mining Stocks Flash Powerful Signal for Gold and Silver Markets - 11th July 19
5 Surefire Ways to Get More Viewers for Your Video Series - 11th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

Inflation Destroys Real Wages

Economics / Inflation Apr 18, 2011 - 02:38 PM GMT

By: Michael_Pento

Economics

In the same vein as medieval physicians believed bloodletting would cure illness, modern snake-oil economists still perilously cling to their claim that rising wages and salaries are the cause of inflation. With my recent debates with these mainstream economists, I've heard the following: "without rising wages, where does the money come from to push prices higher?" I was tempted to respond, "where do the employers get the money to pay those higher wages?" But economists tend to get a little nasty when you make them feel stupid.


It is actually the predominant belief that wages and salaries rise before aggregate price levels in the economy and thus during periods of rising inflation, real wages are always increasing. However, economic history has proven over and over again that real wages actually decrease during periods of rising inflation. Nominal incomes do increase, but this is merely a response to the inflation that has already been created.

The essence of this folly is that modern economists don't have a firm grasp on the mechanics of inflation. At the most basic level, inflation comes from too much money chasing too few goods. The battle against rapidly rising inflation always has its genesis from a central bank that prints money in order to monetize the nation's debt.

And because the central bank typically only gives this new money to the nation's creditors--half of which aren't Americans--the money created is never evenly distributed into the wages and salaries of the people. It goes first into the hands of those bondholders who receive interest and principal payments. In addition, the rapid expansion of the money supply causes the currency to lose value against hard assets and foreign currencies. Nominal wages and salaries eventually respond to soaring commodity prices and a crumbling currency, but always with a lag that causes their purchasing power to fall relative to other asset classes. Have you ever tried to ask your boss for a raise simply because living expenses cost 10% more than a year prior? As you are laughed out of the office, you can see the wage lag in action.

Recent economic data provides clear proof that the "wage-price spiral" alleged by Keynesian economists is plainly wrong.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has now increased for nine consecutive months. It increased by 0.5% in March from February and is up 2.7% year-over-year. The YOY increase in the prior month was 2.1%. It appears the increase in consumer prices is accelerating-and quickly. Meanwhile, in the last 12 months, the US Dollar Index has lost 8% of its value against a basket of our 6 largest trading partners. The dollar has also lost 29% of its value since April 2010 when measured against the 19 commodities contained in the CRB Index. If you needed more evidence of the dollar devaluation, producer prices are up 5.8% and import prices surged 9.7% YOY.

So there's your inflation. But was it caused by rising wages and full employment? The unemployment rate has dropped a bit from 10.1% to 8.8% - but this is mostly due to discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force altogether. However, even if the decrease came from legitimate employment gains, it would be hard to argue that an 8.8% unemployment rate would put upward pressure on wages. And, in fact, it hasn't. Real average hourly earnings dropped 0.6% in March, the most since June 2009, after falling 0.5% the prior month. Over the past 12 months they were down 1%, the biggest annual drop since September 2008!

The conclusion is clear: rising wages cannot be the cause of inflation.

Alas, there is a predictable path for newly created money as it snakes its way through an economy. It is always reflected first in the falling purchasing power of a currency and in the rising prices of hard assets. That's because debt holders move their newly minted proceeds into commodities to protect against the general rise in price levels and as an alternate store of wealth. Food and energy prices have a higher negative correlation to the falling dollar than the items that exist in the core rate. They are the first warning bell in an inflationary period, which may be exactly why they are left out of the headline measure.

Nominal wages and salaries eventually rise but always slower than the rate of inflation, causing real wages to fall. If rising wages increased faster than aggregate prices, inflation would always lead to a rise in living standards. Is that what we've seen in Peron's Argentina or Weimar Germany? The reason why the unemployment rate soars and the economy falls into a depression is precisely because the middle class has their discretionary purchasing power stolen from them.

Mark my words: if the Fed and Obama Administration place their faith in stagnant incomes to contain inflation, they will sit idly by while the country collapses in front of their eyes. Because of their medieval understanding of economics, these central planners are going to bring us right back to the Dark Ages.

For in-depth analysis of this and other investment topics, subscribe to The Global Investor, Peter Schiff's free newsletter. Click here for more information.

By Michael Pento

Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

Michael Pento, Euro Pacific Captial as the Senior Economist and Vice President of Managed Products.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules